Is South Korea and Japan Too Much?

Feb 3rd, 2014, 09:34 PM
  #1  
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Is South Korea and Japan Too Much?

We are in the preliminary stages of planning our first trip to Asia, and would really wanted to know that if we went on a trip to both South Korea and Japan, would it be too much? We are very interested in both countries food, temples, city-life, culture, museums, etc and since they are only a 2-2 ½ hour plane ride apart would it be worth it? On a side note, for a first timer would you suggest China or Japan and Korea?

Thanks
lhenry is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2014, 09:43 PM
  #2  
kja
 
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I thought 3 weeks the minimum for a first visit to Japan.

I spent 4 weeks in just the northern part of China; I didn't make it to most places many people visit on their first trip to China (e.g., Shanghai or Hong Kong).

I am currently planning a 4-week trip to South Korea and am having difficulty deciding what to skip.

Japan is probably the easiest place for a first-visit to the Orient.

Please check some guidebooks. Then read trip reports and planning threads. And by all means, check out japan-guide.com

Good luck!
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Feb 3rd, 2014, 10:39 PM
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My first trip to Asia was around 10 days in Japan and then another 3 days in Beijing. Flew on an FF award and could not resist the free stopover. It was great. Definitely is interesting to compare/contrast two destinations. I loved Japan. The first thing I noticed in Beijing was that it was not Japan, but then I got into it and very much enjoyed my brief visit there and wished I could stay a bit longer.

Answers to your first two questions (too much?, worth it?) depends on how much time you have. For the third question, I suggest Japan, but I am biased by the fact that I did not really give Beijing (or Seoul on another trip) much of a chance.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Feb 3rd, 2014, 10:52 PM
  #4  
kja
 
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BTW, if you are considering a visit to China, do take the pollution there into consideration:
http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...y-that-bad.cfm
kja is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2014, 11:09 PM
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I'm curious, what sorts of things are you interested in doing in South Korea?
LelandWB is offline  
Feb 4th, 2014, 05:20 AM
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I'd stick with one country for a first trip, and of those three places, I'd choose Japan.

My usual recommendation for people for a first trip to Asia is a location in SE Asia, either Thailand or Indonesia. Great tourist infrastructure, relatively inexpensive, and the language barrier is minimal since so many people speak English.
Kathie is offline  
Feb 4th, 2014, 07:06 AM
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I haven't been to Korea but like the others, I'd recommend choosing one or the other for your trip, unless you have a LOT of time available.

If you're talking 1-3 weeks, then there's SO much to see in Japan (and presumably, likewise, in Korea) that it's not worth splitting the time across two countries.

Already, it'll be tough narrowing down what to see and what to skip.

If you have 5 or 6 weeks, maybe it'd be worth it...
Kavey is offline  
Mar 30th, 2014, 04:31 PM
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I've been to Asia twice in recent years and both were split trips for 3 weeks each. One week in Japan and two weeks in China, then one week in Japan and two weeks in Korea.

There is no one right or wrong way to do it. I generally prefer micro-regional travel, but I am very glad I had the ability to go to all those places. I would not have done a single thing different.

If you have the inkling to go to more than one country, don't let a short plane flight deter you. Just realize that you can't tick off the entire list of 'Tourist Highlights' when you hop around. Be OK with missing things that other people see, and create your own list.

China is far more difficult to tour than Japan or Korea if you want to get out of the cities. Very rewarding, but you have to expect some complications.
shelemm is offline  
May 9th, 2014, 08:22 AM
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It depends on how long your trip will be, but like others have said, there are lots to see already in Japan. I am sure there are lots to see in South Korea as well.
For a first timer, I think Japan would be a good choice. It is fairly easy to get around Japan to see the sites you want.
worldtraveler17 is offline  
May 9th, 2014, 03:41 PM
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My first trip to Korea was one week, followed by another week in Japan. They are very different, so it was definitely "worth it." I've been back to both many times (short & long visits) and still feel each country is interesting, though I really prefer visiting Japan. Less stress , better transportation, and I prefer Japanese food.

If I was choosing between China & Japan to attach to a Korea trip, I'd go with Japan.
lcuy is offline  
May 10th, 2014, 10:39 AM
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For me it would depend on the likelihood of returning to Asia. I went to Korea for 3 weeks and considered visiting Japan, but decided against it because I was planning to visit Japan separately. If there had been little chance of me returning to that part of the world, I'd definitely have gone to Japan.
ClementineLdn is offline  
May 17th, 2014, 01:52 PM
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Yes we will likely be visiting Asia again, and the reason I suggested SK with Japan was that I could get a free stopover there and its a quick flight over to Japan.
lhenry is offline  
May 19th, 2014, 09:21 AM
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You can do it! We just did a trip around Japan and spent a few days in Seoul. It was very easy for us, but it all depends on what you want to do and how long you want to spend in each place. We spent 3 days in Seoul and although we could have spent many more, we felt like we had plenty of time to see what we wanted to and enjoy the city.
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May 19th, 2014, 09:22 AM
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What is your itinerary?
europe2011 is offline  
May 19th, 2014, 05:51 PM
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That is exactly what I was thinking! We mainly want to see the city, try the food, go to Gagnam, see Gyeongbokgung, the DMZ, and the view by the N Seoul Tower. We don't have an itinerary yet, will be going next spring!
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May 20th, 2014, 05:44 AM
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Why not?

Ive done 2 countries in 3 weeks and while you cant see a lot, a week in one part of a country gives you a taste of the culture.

How long is your trip?

If flights match up I would do it. Personally I found Japan a bit disappointing but its worth a look if you have never been.

If you like one country a lot more than the other you can go back again and see more of it.

I would do 1 week at least rather than 3 nights.
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May 20th, 2014, 06:14 AM
  #17  
kja
 
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Given your stated priorities for Seoul, the idea of a 3 or 4 day visit (rather than a week) makes sense to me, but how to allocate your time really depends on what you want tto see. I'm not sure why Prachuap found Japan disappointing -- It exceeded my high expectations, and I think that is true for many people. But Japan does have some decidedly different areas, some filled with tradition, others highly modern, so planning a trip that takes your interest into consideration would be important.
kja is offline  
May 20th, 2014, 06:16 AM
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Prachuap - why did you find Japan disappointing?
ClementineLdn is offline  
May 20th, 2014, 06:40 AM
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I just thought I would like it more. The highlight was seeing Gheisha girls. Other than that it just seemed a bit bland. Compared to warm SEA people Japanese are a bit boring.

The temples are nice but seeing temples is not a big thing for me.

Also the rooms and ensuites are tiny for the price.

Im also more of a beach person who likes snorkelling and kayaking.
Prachuap is offline  
May 20th, 2014, 09:40 AM
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I can't even begin to understand the "bland" comment. I realise we all have different tastes, of course, and that's totally cool.

But Japan is certainly not bland. It's not in your face, it's a destination and culture that rewards making an effort to scratch beneath the surface, to appreciate it. People are quieter, sure, but no less interesting or welcoming, in my opinion.

It's kind of like dismissing the entirety of India as a bit boring unless you like curry or Bollywood films. There is such vast richness and so very much diversity of what one can enjoy and see, but one has to make the effort to find it!
But then, I find spending time on a beach probably the single most boring holiday pastime I could think of (though my sister adores it so don't think I'm being snobby, not at all).

Temples, sounds so boring, but the temples are each so different, beautiful and fascinating. That's what I found, anyway. I had wondered if I'd be "templed out" by Kyoto, having seen occasional comments to that effect, but didn't feel that way at all, quite the opposite.
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